Serious Games 2013-2014 • by Control Magazine

Page 1

Serious Games

Information for businesses & governmental organisations Edition 2013-2014


The Dutch gamesindustry: a quick look Valuechain

Turnover (in mln €)




Jobs per company

80 - 100





20 - 30





20 - 30





10 - 20





15 - 30




5 - 15




150 - 225





Source: TNO, data from CONTROL MAGAZINE/LISA/CBS research

The Numbers The Netherlands house 330 game companies, with over fifty percent involved in the production of serious games. That percentage is significantly higher than in any other national gamesindustry. Dutch studios are considered international market leaders in Serious Games. The Dutch gamesindustry currently employs 3.000 people and that number increases on a yearly basis. Read more about the Dutch gamesindustry in the Gamesmonitor, a publication based on extensive research by, amongst others, TNO, Taskforce Innovation and Control Magazine. It is available in Dutch and English. 57% of Dutch game companies involved in Applied Gaming

5% 13% 38%











Games for Health Europe

Most important conference on health games in Europe, sister event of the Games For Health conference in Boston. The 2013-edition will take place in Utrecht on 4 and 5 October.

Dutch Game Awards

National awards celebrating game development, including awards for Best Serious Game, Best Applied Game Design, Best Health Game and Best Collaboration between Game­ studio and Client.

Source: TNO, data from CONTROL/LISA/CBS research

Applied Beide Onbekend Dutch Game Garden

Dutch Games Association

The DGG boasts an office complex in the centre of Utrecht, housing over 40 game companies. Additionally they run a successful incubator and host a monthly network event. Together with Control and the DGA, the DGG is the primary force for promoting the Dutch gamesindustry, nationally as we'll as internationally.

The DGA is the sector organisation for game companies. It organizes so called Holland Pavillions at international trade shows and conferences. Furthermore, the DGA is the primary liaison between the gamesindustry and governmental institutions.


2 • Serious Games 2013-2014

Control Magazine The creators of this very magazine publish the specialist journal for the Dutch gamesindustry, the primary game news and job websites alongside several international editions. Control Magazine hosts the Control Conference on game development in November and the Dutch Game Awards (in association with ImproVive), the most prestigious national awards for Dutch developers. The founders of the magazine have an extensive network within the industry and are regular speakers at dozens of game related events.

Dutch Society for Simulation in Healthcare An association focusing on simulation and serious games in the field of healthcare. Organizers of the yearly DSSH Conference.

Serious Games - edition 2013/2013 is a publication by


Control Magazine Neude 5, 3512 AD Utrecht, The Netherlands T: +31 (0)30 - 231 99 14 M: (Dutch) (English)

Magazine team

Publisher / Matthijs Dierckx

Editor-in-chief / Eric Bartelson

Editor / Alessandra van Otterlo

Additional layout / René Bartelson Manager Operations / Arno Landsbergen Website & network management / Martijn Frazer

Editorial contributors

Dimme van der Hout, Monkeybizniz Jeroen van Mastrigt-Ide, WeLoveYourWork Arjan Terpstra

Why Serious Games?


Serious Games are games – either digital or physical – with a purpose that supersedes entertainment. These are games with goals like training, educating and creating awareness.

About Control Magazine

All the knowledge game designers collectively have accumulated over a period of decades is now made available to companies, organisations, governments and schools to benefit from.

Print and Online / T: +31 (0)30 - 231 99 14 E:

Control is the leading Dutch publication on game development. With a readership exceeding 3,000 professionals and relevant students, the magazine is a pivotal platform for news, information, opinion and job opportunities within the game industry. Print Regular editions (Dutch) 7 times a year International editions (English) 2-3 times a year Special Editions: Serious Games & Educational Online

News website (Dutch) / News website (English) / Jobsite for gamejobs / Newsletter (weekly) / Facebook / Twitter /@ControlMagazine Control Magazine was founded in 2007 by Matthijs Dierckx and Eric Bartelson


Control Magazine is proud media partner of: • GDC San Francisco / GDC Europe • Dutch Games Association • Dutch Game Garden • Indigo – the indie showcase


Nothing in this magazine may be reproduced in whole or part without the written permission of the publisher. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein.


If you have any questions regarding this publications, please let us know. E-mail us at Copyright © 2013 Control Magazine All Rights Reserved

Serious – or Applied – Games have seen a meteoric rise over the last years, with more and more game studios creating increasingly effective projects that help clients reach their goals with fewer funds and in less time.

Why this magazine?

Notwithstanding the increased popularity of Serious Games, there are still a lot of decision makers who aren't aware of the possibilities and opportunities for their organisation. This magazine serves as quick introduction into the field of Applied Gaming.

Why should I read this?

This magazine explains the basics of gaming and play in various fields – such as Advertising, Healthcare, HRM and Education – as well as showcasing some of the best and most recent examples of Serious Games already rolled out. Take half an hour, and you're up to speed with the latest developments. And at the back of this magazine you'll find a directory with contact information of 24 relevant companies and organisations.

Who made this magazine?

'Serious Games, edition '13-'14' is a publication by Control Magazine, the renowned specialist journal for the Dutch gamesindustry.

Who picked up the bill?

This production is paid for by the gamesindustry itself. A collection of Serious Games studios and organisations each sponsored one or more pages (which is indicated by a little 'S' at the top of those pages). Additionally, the Province of Utrecht sponsored a part of the aforementioned directory.

Looking for the table of contents? Look at the back cover!

Serious Games 2013-2014 • 3


Game design is for game designers

The Curse of the Angry Bird The confessions of a game designer and how his gamewise clients make his job harder. Angry Birds with helmets? Please.... I’ve got the best job in the world. I talk to clients about problems they encounter in their field of expertise and then get to come up with ideas how a game or an app could solve this. I need to think out of the box only to neatly color between lines set by the client and the target audience. Of course there are challenges and some prove to be more fun than others. Bookkeeping never made my fun list and managing a bunch of monkeys can be as much fun as it can be a hassle. Dealing with clients is always interesting but lately it seems this particular aspect of my work is developing its own kind of challenge. It looks like our clients are becoming ‘gamewise’. Not so long ago, whenever I met a new client I would give a small presentation on games, genres, platforms and show possibilities and examples of games. This way the client would feel a bit more at ease before jumping into the Great Big Unknown called (Serious) Game Design. No more! These days clients know what games are. They devour game after game on their smartphones or iPad (or at least their kids do). They read the special editions from Control Magazine and get informed by organisations like Syntens, TFI, the Dutch Game Garden or their own game savvy adolescent kids.

4 • Serious Games 2013-2014

Great! Saves you a lot of presentations and explaining so you can get back to thinking outside the box and coloring between the lines. Right? No, not necessarily, I have recently discovered. Two months ago I found myself at a pitch for a big assigment. I was sitting in a dimlit grey office in a large building from a big corporation. At the other side of the table sat a man somewhere in his fifties. Next to him was a younger woman who was in charge of the meeting. She had convinced upper management to invest in a Serious Game. The subject of the game, creating awareness, inform and change the behaviour of their employees to prevent accidents and reduce risk on the workfloor. These risks vary from handling large industrial machines, to

chemicals, repetitive tasks and even stress. Oh, and the game needs to appeal to a broad audience as well, ranging from 18 to 55 years old. I had just finished my short presentation on games and had shown our latest projects. Personally I am always quite proud of the fact that we always try to avoid developing a chocolate covered brocolli game (one where you hide the boring stuff by covering it up with sweet gimmicky things). We try to stay away from grabbing an existing format, let’s say Doodle Jump, add some bananas and then proclaim this is a game about eating healthy. I am looking at the young woman on the other side of the table and I get the feeling I must have said something wrong.

“I want Angry Birds”, she tells me. Somewhat surprised I ask her if she wants a casual game like Angry Birds or if she actually wants Angry Birds. “I want Angry Birds. I need someone who can replicate Angry Birds. That way, I know exactly what I am investing in and I know that it will be fun to play”. My arguments on competing with the actual game itself and all the other clones fall on deaf ears. As do my attempts to convince her about the intellectual rights and that reverse engineering is not a 100% guarantee for success. Finally I ask her: “What about the message you are trying to convey to your employees? How will you communicate quite a complex message through a game like Angry Birds?” “Helmets”, she replies. “We will make the pigs wear helmets”. I try to convince her that pigs with helmets will teach you as much about safe work environments as Angry Birds has tought us about life on the farm between pigs and birds. But it feels like she already made up her mind and a bit confused I leave the pitch. This happened more than two months ago and I am still waiting for a yes or no from the client. But I can’t say I have got a good feeling about it.

targets and communicates with your audience, clients will pick a game they know, and add some chocolate or silly hats. If we don’t convince our clients that a good Serious Game is more than using visuals that relay to your subject, we will end up with all sorts of rope cutting, pig shooting doodle jumpers. These games, I am afraid, will miss their goal as a Serious Game - to inform through entertainment, to teach by engagement, to make people understand by participation. And in the not so distant future, that same client will state that Serious Games have proven uneffective and are a waste of money. It does not have to be that way. If you dare to actually communicate with your target

audience, if you dare to invest in a made to measure solution, the results can be amazing. I have seen players make Excel sheets to grasp the underlying system of our game. After playing it four times, they sent us an email stating that the game becomes boring after you know how the system works. That, dear player, was the best compliment we have ever gotten. You spend 6 hours, playing a free game which goal it was to teach you how that system works. The game by the way, I find quite boring myself. In all honesty, I don’t think I have ever finished it completely. But it is not about me. And dear client, it is not about you. You and me, we need to come up with ways to reach that target audience that has already played Cut The Rope, Ridiculous Fishing and that game about Pigs and Birds.

My fear in this, is that the client will go with the studio that will say yes to the helmet game. In a time where the market is being flooded with game startup studios and assignments are harder to come by, I fear this will happen more and more often. Instead of choosing a solution that really

Serious Games 2013-2014 • 5

The Rise of the Gaming Government 6 • Serious Games 2013-2014

A conversation with the goverment's secret weapon in the race for smart solutions.


he Dutch Government is warming up to serious games. A trend illustrated by the fact the governement has a Senior Advisor Serious Gaming. Yuen Yen Tsai is advocating the use of games for training and organisational change for four years now. In that time she has seen a shift in mentality of the people around her: “I feel I don’t have to explain myself all the time anymore. I have more meaningful conversations about the use of Applied Games.” In these troubled economic times, the Dutch government is looking for ways to cut back spending without compromising the quality of the work force. It’s a balancing act that requires out of the box thinking and there’s plenty of that in Tsai. She is a strong believer in the power of play to institute a meaningful and lasting change in organisations and people. “I realise that not every problem is solved with games”, she says. “But doing the same things over and over just because we are doing it this way for so long, needs rethinking. And that’s what I and a growing group of like minded people are trying to achieve. A constructive and structural change in the way we are doing things. And if games can help to achieve that, all the better – but it’s not a requirement.”

Hammering home the message

In the four years Tsai has worked as Senior Advisor Serious Gaming at the Department of Home Affairs the number of games developed specifically for the Ministeries and it’s many bodies has seen a significant increase. “I can’t take full credit for that”, Tsai says smiling. “But by continuing to hammer home the message of applied gaming I’m sure I have created awareness for this topic at the different Ministeries.” Tsai explains the different levels of her role as Advisor. First level is simply explaining the concept of applying a game as a possible solution to a serious matter or problem. “Just give them examples of successfull projects, but don’t shower them with facts and figures. Just tickle their interest.” Second layer is when someone has put some thought into this topic already and is wondering if games could work for his or her department. “This is where it gets interesting. Work together to establish a clear view of the goals and see if

gaming can help to achieve them. That’s very important. Don’t apply games for the fun of it, all serious games require thoughtful analysis of the issue. What exactly is the problem we are trying to solve? How is that problem triggered? How much human behavior needs to change? What does the desired behavior look like?” Once it’s clear that games are the way to go, it’s time for the final level in her advisory role: production. “At that point I take a step back and let the game studios and the client work it out.” After using the games, Tsai comes in again for an extensive evaluation: “Now what exactly has changed? What part was caused by games? In other words, was the use of games successful?”

“My goal is to have all civil servants use games as their prefered way of learning by the year 2014"

3 examples of serious governmental games

Practically impossible

Yuen Yen Tsai has a clear ambition for the foreseeable future: “My goal is to have all civil servants use games as their prefered way of learning by the year 2014.” While she knows that it’s practically impossible, saying it out loud shows her determination. “Communication is key”, Tsai says. She grabs my hand and looks me straight in the eye. “Sometimes you just have to demand attention and tell the other: Let’s do this together!” Tsai has identified several practices that benefit most from applied gaming within the government. Recruitment and selection, the teaching of new practices, improving teamwork and the understanding of complex issues . “We see a growing need within the government to use games and game design techniques to give insight into the many layers of complex issues. We can intensify the contact with the citizens, engage them to find useful solutions. Taking into account all the arguments, facts and figures for all those different sides, it’s extremely helpful to see the effects running in a simulation of the real life location. Especially when the economic need to expand collides with safety, liveability and ecology. Games and simulations are a great way to really unravel these complex issues.” Yuen Yen Tsai is currently working with the Dutch Tax office. Are we losing the most vocal evangelist of gaming in the Dutch Goverment to the Tax office? “No, the Tax Academy has great ambition in the fields I already mentioned. I think there is an important task for me here to ensure the use of serious games in the relevant areas.”

1. Games are a great way of communicating with the general public. It has the abbility to bring serious subject matters in a casual way. The dialog of goverment and citizens can be more equal if we are more open to suggestions. A great example is the awareness campaign of ticks. 2. Harvast This game helps people in and out of govermental organisations to deal with the theory of ‘Tragedy of the Commons’: the depletion of a shared resource by individuals, despite their understanding that it’s contrary to the best interests of everyone. It makes people realise how evteryting is connected by getting the bigger picture. 3. Games4Java Communications between different departments within the government can be tough sometimes because every group speaks its own ‘language’. This game helps programmers to upkeep their knowledge of the programming language and to create clean code by making games. But there is an even bigger pay off. Through this game programmers gain confidence to let themselves be heard by other groups.

Serious Games 2013-2014 • 7


Games for Health

A game a day, does it keep the doctor away? Are games for health in need of scientific validation? Backers and users seem to demand it, but to what purpose? "Seventy percent of all medical treatment doesn't carry validation."


ames for health are on the move. Countless applications, be it games or digital simulators running on gaming engines, are breaking into the medical world.

Games for health The Netherlands boost a range of gaming companies that work in the field of health games. To name a few: SilverFit stands out in scope, through their line of rehabilitation software programs ( Grendel Games from Leeuwarden built Underground, that teaches laparoscopic skills to doctors (see 'Underground' at M-engaged (also from Leeuwarden) continues work on Hospital Heroes (, a game that trains nursing staff in calculation, to avoid mistakes in medication at the patients bedside.

8 • Serious Games 2013-2014

Sometimes on a small scale, when health games target specific medical practices, but often we see health gaming systems roll out in numbers. SilverFit for instance, a Dutch company that deals in games for rehabilitation purposes, reports to have supplied 'close to a thousand' of their systems to health care facilities - and that's worldwide. Think fitness bikes connected to screens, and gaming software fed by data from the bikes. Think tens of thousands of hours on those bikes in rehabilitation centers everywhere, and you have an idea of the scope of health games today.


Looking at the evidence, it's too late to talk about the early days of health gaming. Acceptance is high in the medical

world and there are dozens of gaming companies specializing in this expanding field. Most of which inevitably bump into a quest for scientific validation of their product. Nice, you train doctors with surgery skills, but why should we buy a game over a simulator? Great, you have a game that trains youngsters with an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), to train social behavior and planning skills, but how does it work, exactly? These are exactly the kind of questions Leuven University (together with ADHD treatment specialist Yulius Academy and client organisation ZitStil) look at in a joint validation trajectory, explains Eliane Lauwers of Janssen, a subsidiary company of Johnson & Johnson. Together with Ranj Serious Games they’ve developed the serious game HealSeeker and funded a validation course to test how children age eight to twelve respond to the software. Lauwers: "We're a pharmaceutical firm, yes, but we also develop training programs

that help to optimize the treatment as a whole. Healseeker has no link to any medication whatsoever - and I'd like to stress that - but should be seen as a means to stimulate behavioral change in the target audience. And we think this is best done by providing a stimulating and fun environment for these children."

It takes forever

The results from the validation course, which includes kids playing the serious game on a structured basis for a couple of weeks, are pending. As is validation research into other health games. Apparently, there is a big need for scientific validation of the health claims these games offer. 'Pending research' is a standard phrase: validation takes time. "This is a major issue for game developers", says Michael Bas, lead developer at Ranj Serious Games. He understands the need to prove the health claims of his game, but sees the longevity of research as problematic. "It takes forever to get proper scientific validation up and

running, not to mention the amount of money involved. All the while development on your game sits still: we cannot move to version two when version one is tested."


In his opinion, scientific validation could be replaced by an evidence-based program, where practitioners validate new software hands-on, while working with their patients. A view supported by Jurriaan van Rijswijk, chair of the Games for Health Europe foundation. Health games require validation - but why exactly? "When you look at regular treatments, up to seventy percent is not validated in any way. Which is fine, since these treatments are guided by experienced people with a lot of know-how. But the same should count for health games." Well, it does not. Apparently health game treatment undergoes severe scrutiny, more severe than non-gaming treatment. Which begs the question why. The answer lies with the parties that expect validation. But what validates their expectations?

Research in progress The health claims of HealSeeker were still researched when this story was written. Pending the outcome of the research, Johnson & Johnson is launching a browser version of the game, branded Plan-It Commander through its subsidiary company Healthy Solutions. This version is not specifically aimed at children with ADHD. See for details.

Serious Games 2013-2014 • 9

Monster Valley S

Casefile #1: The Medicinal Game Cognitive excersises can greatly improve the brain’s abilities, but how do you get young kids interested in doing these kinds of excersises? Why this game?

Monster Valley was created to test the concept of training cognitive function through gaming. Is it possible to accelerate the way we learn and remember through certain gameplay elements? MyCognition teamed up with Little Chicken, Weirdbeard and Monpellier Venture to test this hypothesis. The game is currently being tested by the ‘dreamschool’ Stad en Esch.

Target Audience

could actually enhance the human brain.

What are the goals?

To prove that gaming can be the solution for cognitive training. A game as a prescription drug.

How does the game work?

The game is set in Monster Valley, a beautiful place where the most visually appealing monsters live. The goal of the game is to catch these monsters. To do so, players need to remember everything they see, and to create a strategy that will enable them to collect them all.

Quick Info Monster Valley is a place where monsters roam free. The player has to catch the little critters and in order to do so has to use all sorts of cognitive functions. It’s traditional testing in a fun way. Studio Client Partners Development

Little Chicken Game Company MyCognition Monpellier Venture WeirdBeard 6 months

“Game-generated motivation and flow can enhance a human brain”

In this first phase, we are testing with students from the school in Meppel. If the results show that Monster Valley enhances cognitive functions, the target audience will be broadened to include both medical and business worlds.

How did the game come about?

The game concept was created by MyCognition & John Harrison - one of the top cognitive psychologist in the World, Little Chicken's game designers, and Weirdbeard's technical guys. The challenge was to take traditional cognitive tests and turn them into a real video game; motivated by the belief that game-generated motivation and flow

What are the results?

We are currently testing the game with high school students. The first results are promising, and we look forward to validating them during the remainder of the pilot. Later this year we will create our first clinical trial with Parkinson's patients. The ambition behind this project is enormous and we truly believe this could change the face of cognitive training through games beyond our imagination.

This article is brought to you by Little Chicken Game Company •

Serious Games 2013-2014 • 11

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contact us: @wlyw

Real world training in a virtal world

CSI in the polder Dutch emergency services use joysticks to train 'forensic awareness'. The CSI training centre at the Dutch Forensic Institute NFI applies gaming in its highly serious course.


bloody corpse hangs on the back seat of a black car. Doors aloof, and bullets punctured both the man and the car. Five firemen, clad in protective white paper suits, approach the scene with care. "Can you zoom in on the license plate please?", asks one of them. His colleague nods, steadies his grip around a large joystick and zooms in on the shattered yellow plate under the cars' wheels. "Can we further investigate this?" In this 'forensic awareness game', hosted at the Netherlands Forensic Insitute (NFI) in The Hague, they can. The NFI, one of the worlds top forensic laboratories, usually keeps far from play but have adopted serious gaming as a new way to initiate staff and non-staff into the mysteries of forensic research. What does a crime scene investigator look for when he or she is at a crime scene? How can emergency personnel reduce the risk of interference with the source material of major crimes and accidents?


Big, basic questions the firemen need to tackle today. They confront the bloody corpse and its surroundings on a big projector screen, and steer an avatar through the digital and three-dimensional chaos. Which details might shed light on what's happened here, and what evidence needs processing by the NFI? Session leader Anick van der Craats stands at hand to assist the firemen with the decisions they


face. Research supplies are limited: what items would you like to have examined at the NFI? Good choices yield a good score-count; the firemen who train today compete with teams on other days. "Of course the aim of this game is not the high score", says Van der Craats. "But the element of competition means better concentration and results with the trainees." Indeed: in a mere hour the men have unravelled the script behind the horrid scene. A public prosecutor is assassinated, two shooters are identified and the evidence points to an address where the men might be hiding.


commander Maurice de Boer, while kicking off the paper overall. "Our staff enter crime scenes before we know they are crime scenes. Take the newest fad in Rotterdam: the booby trapping of weed plantations in houses and barns. When our people enter after a fire call, they risk being hurt by these contraptions, but also destroy all evidence to who built these things. Fire fighting is top of our minds as firemen, but aiding the forensic teams who step in next should be a firm second. In all of our interests."

Made in Holland

Next up: a real time investigation into the 'suspects house', a proper brick house with a prepped interior that sits in the middle of the CSI training room. Projectors and joysticks are left behind as the careful search for more evidence begins, monitored on several screens by the training staff as the 'suspects house' is rigged with camera's and microphones.

Booby trap

After a few hours the 'forensic awareness game' ends. The firemen score ok, but missed out on some clues that might have helped them to close the case sooner. "Not important", says Van der Craats. "They understood what was required of them when they would fill the boots of a crime scene investigator." One of the firemen nods. The session was very helpful, says fire

The NFI's 'Forensic awareness game' was developed in conjunction with simulation- and serious gaming experts E-Semble, and integrates digital simulation through a gaming engine and hands-on research in a room full of props. For more information (English or Dutch) see

Serious Games 2013-2014 • 13

Vox Venti – Strategic Buying S

Casefile #2: The Employee's Game

Thousands of employees of a large German multinational train their skills with Vox Venti – a game that teaches them how to buy strategically. Why this game?

The development of Vox Venti – Strategic Buying was commissioned by a renowned worldwide operating German technology company. The purpose of the game is to give employees of the client a valuable insight into the strategic buying process.

Target Audience

Junior buyers (employed by the client) age 22-25.

How does the game work?

In the game the player has the role of junior buyer. He is part of a team that is responsible for realizing two prestigious windmill parks housing the largest windmills in the world. The player's mission is to find a supplier for a crucial part of a windmill. Goal for the player is not only to optimize the profit margin, but also to obtain the best possible strategic position in relation to the supplier and Vox Venti's competition. After an extensive video briefing, the player gains access to a large amount of information and data. He has to analyze this information under time pressure. Subsequently, the player uses the information in conversations with various stakeholders, such as current and new suppliers and people from Research and Development. In all these conversations he receives additional information. The player has to analyze and understand the old and new information, weigh the risks involved, use the maneuvering space, all without losing sight of the profit margin.

During this process the player experiences that the market is dynamic and that internal negotiations are sometimes harder than external ones. In the end, the player determines a buying strategy based on the information he gathered and chooses a supplier. The choices the player made are judged by the purchasing manager. The game is developed based on the Interactive Case Study (ICS) game format. The focus of this game format is analysis, developing a strategy, communication skills and taking action. In the game, players are put in a position where they can exercise influence and experience firsthand how to get a complicated job done.

Quick Info A training game giving employees of a multinational valuable insights into the strategic buying process. Studio Client Development

RANJ Serious Games Renowned worldwide operating German technology multinational 6 months

What are the results?

Since its launch, the game has already been played by thousands of junior buyers worldwide. For this client it was the first hands-on experience with serious games. And it was a big success: Vox Venti – Strategic Buying has earned a prominent place in the client's online learning environment.

“The focus is analysis, developing a strategy, communication skills and taking action”

This article is brought to you by RANJ Serious Games •

Serious Games '13 • 15


Casefile #3: The Educational Games

A fun way to learn Games that make learning a fun activity: it’s more than the right answer, it’s about getting there. Why these games?

Games can be a powerful learning method. Broadcasting companies (NPS), museums, brands, non-governmental companies and educational publishing companies (Malmberg) have all come to IJsfontein to develop games they can use to get their information across. In schools and other educational settings, games are increasingly deployed to broaden the students' knowledge. The focus is no longer on just arriving at the solution of a problem, but much more on the process of problem solving. And problem solving is key to learning. In the traditional way of teaching schools focus on relating facts and testing how well students can retain the provided information. You learn something in theory, you practice by doing tedious exercises and when you're finished, you're generally allowed to go and do something else. By presenting the information in the form of a video game with an engaging narrative, students are allowed to use different strategies to arrive at the desired learning goals and they will play the game again and again, which will deepen their understanding of the subject matter.

like abcdeSIM, a hospital emergencyroom simulator for both students and professionals - we try and come up with appealing story-lines for our games to motivate people to play them over and over again, so that they truly understand the underlying mechanics. It’s not just about the right answer; it’s much more about how you arrive at the right answer.

Quick Info Tafel Monsters (Table Monsters) is an easy and fun way for kids to learn to multiply. The free iPad game allows students to practice their skills in a playful manner. With great results!

How do these games come about?

By working very closely together with the client on identifying the learning goals we’re able create games that trigger students into thinking for themselves. In a game called Lekker Goedkoop (Nice and Cheap) students are confronted with the dilemmas you are faced with when you want to design nice and affordable clothing. While playing the game children will notice that their choices have an effect on the price of the final piece of clothing but also on the conditions under which they are produced. The game was originally designed to accompany a tv-series about slavery and is now also being used as classroom teaching material.

“Several IJsfontein designers have extensive teaching experience”

What makes these games work?

IJsfontein has several game designers and strategists on staff with extensive teaching experience, which enables us to understand the challenges of reaching learning goals. From very simple games like Tafel Monsters (Table Monsters) a game that helps young students to multiply, to complex games

abcdeSIM is based on the ABCDE method. Simply put it’s: treat first what kills first. The letters indicate the right order of treatment: Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability and Exposure.

So what’s next?

A 2012 report by the New Media Consortium identified ‘game-based learning’ as one of the major trends affecting education in the next five years. We expect that more and more of our games will be officially accredited and that they will be played in schools and at other learning facilities.

This article is brought to you by IJsfontein •

Serious Games 2013-2014 • 17

Games and advertising

Look who’s gaming! The explosion of casual gaming and mobile devices is pointing towards a perfect storm for advertisers. Oscar Diele, CMO at Spil Games, looks at why brands need to be taking gaming seriously as a media channel.


espite huge growth, gaming is still seen by many as having a niche audience. The reality, however, is that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

31 million UK gamers produced 43 million games hours per day; and 36 million German gamers 47 million hours per day (source: Newzoo, National Gamers Survey 2011.

March stats from comScore showed that of the entire internet population of 1.5 billion people, on average 645 million – or 41.5% – of these people play online games. That percentage is only going to grow as online gaming content becomes more readily available, not just as internet penetration increases, but also as mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones become even more prevalent.

comScore and industry stats in general show that the penetration of games is something that crosses both gender and age divides. This is also highlighted

Double-digit growth

And with the growth of online and mobile advertising continuing unabated, this sector of gaming is likely to become a hugely important channel for brands. According to eMarketer, the US mobile gaming audience alone has continued a steady double-digit growth since 2011 and will reach 162.4 million people by 2015. To put that in perspective, that’s 50.5% of the US population that will actively play games on mobile devices. Furthermore, mobile gamers are also affluent; Shullman Research Center reports that 59% of social gamers earn in excess of $75,000 a year, making them an attractive audience for brands to reach. Furthermore, a breakdown of the top three gaming nations shows just how much time these people are spending playing games: in 2011, 145 million US gamers produced an average of 215 million game hours per day;

18 • Serious Games 2013-2014

“Casual games hold the most interest to brands” by another recent set of stats from the Netherlands National Gamers Survey conducted by Newzoo, which showed that there was only one demographic where gaming didn’t have over 50% penetration, and that was men over 50… but even that segment saw 45% penetration. However, one of the first things we need to do when talking about gaming from an advertising perspective is make the distinction between casual and hardcore gaming. Casual games hold the most interest to brands as hardcore gamers do not want to be distracted while playing their games. And by casual gaming we mean games where the user just needs a browser and an internet connection, and they certainly don’t need a lengthy manual. This means

they can be used for short bursts, or “snack” moments, of entertainment and stress relief. Within the casual gaming sector there are many different types of games: ones that you play alone; ones that you can play alone but where you can share elements with others (social games); or full-on real-time multiplayer games. And certain types of games appeal more to certain demographics, which is vital information for brands looking to target their advertising.

Women & Girls

Our own experience with the Spil Games family of platforms shows that young girls are very creative and like to play things such as cooking games (such as Sara’s Cooking Class), caring games and make-up games. They also like to share what they have done with others, which helps them to build their confidence in a safe environment. Meanwhile, adult women play games primarily to break away from their daily routine – or escape from reality – and at the same time get some mental stimulation. As such they tend to prefer puzzle games, quizzes, word games (such as Words With Friends), matching games and mahjong-style games. On the other hand, boys tend to be much more interested in discovering their own identities, setting high scores, gaining achievements and winning. Their choice of games are much more about competition than creativity and collaboration; with

popular choices including racing games (such as Uphill Rush), sports games and action games. This same philosophy and mentality also ports over to the types of games adult men play, too.

the Interactive Advertising Bureau shows that 83% of online gamers are open to advertising in return for free gaming content – in short this means advertising a natural part of the online gaming environment.

The challenge

30 minutes

Of course there is always a certain amount of crossover. For example, we know that around 20% of our young female audience also likes to play more maleoriented games. Our challenge, therefore, is to offer the most relevant games based on what we know about the user and their gaming habits, which we do by having specific destinations for specific types of content. These range from GirlsgoGames, which targets young girls aged 6-12 and would represent the perfect advertising spot for brands like Barbie or Mattel, to more family oriented channels such as Games. that have a broader mix of audience.

This makes advertising much more effective. According to research by engagement specialist MediaBrix gaming ad campaigns are outperforming standard online ad campaigns, generating both higher average click-through rates (CTRs) and engagement levels than many online formats. The report shows that gaming video ads generate an average CTR of 3%, roughly 30 times higher than the CTR of standard banner advertising campaigns (0.10%), Facebook ads (0.03% to 0.11%) and rich media banner ads (0.12%). Time on site for gaming is also a force to be reckoned with. Speak to any magazine publisher and they’ll feel very happy to know their readers have been staying on site for around five to six minutes. Across our platforms we’re seeing an average session time of up to 30 minutes – with some regions even as high as 50 minutes. On top of this most users consume on average three to four different games per session, which offers advertisers a lot of different opportunities to connect with audiences.

“There is a person who wants to play games in everybody”

But probably the single most important point for advertisers is the level of engagement offered by gaming platforms. Casual gamers actively want to interact and they have time on their hands to be entertained. Unlike a magazine site or a video-based site where visitors often sit back and consume and actively seek to avoid advertising, a gaming audience has a much more positive mindset. Research by

This article is brought to you by Spil Games •

Our belief is that there is a person who wants to play games in everybody, and this makes online casual gaming the mass-market media of the day, with broad demographic appeal. And with online advertisers paying on a cost per interaction model and not on a slot model as they would in a traditional TV model, it’s a win-win situation for all parties involved. But the clearest message of all is that if brands are not looking seriously at the potential for advertising in the casual gaming sector, then they are going to be missing out.

Spil Games’ mission is to unite the world in play through a localised global network of online social gaming platforms tailored to girls, teens and families. These platforms, the most important of which are GirlsgoGames (for girls between 8-12) and A-10 (for teens 12-17), are localised in 15 languages, and entertain more than 180 million active users from around the world each month. These platforms host popular casual and social games that encourage players to connect and challenge themselves and each other while sharing their creativity. Additionally, Spil Games is present on mobile devices through browser-based and native application versions of the company’s targeted social gaming platforms. For more information, please visit

Serious Games 2013-2014 • 19


Casefile #4: Brand Strategy Games

The Big Brands

Sticky Game Agency works with huge brands like Disney, Nickelodeon, Chevrolet and Warner Bros. The agency concepts, develops and deploys a large variety of games to strengthen the brands of their clients. A selection of recent projects. Double check your skills against Aaron Rogers STATE FARM INSURANCES: PAPER FOOTBALL

The brief

Increase fan acquisition, engagement and reach for State Farms' Facebook brand page. Provide State Farm agents with an opportunity to interact with their customers in a casual manner that's both playful and personalized.

The strategy

We chose to create a casual game experience which gives players the opportunity to challenge their friends and personalize their character by uploading their photo. We also gave State Farm agents the option to send challenges to their customers via email, which linked to their personalized challenge on Facebook.

20 • Serious Games 2013-2014


We created a 'one of a kind' art style that combines 3D paper-craft style characters with JibJab like animations. Using the Unity and Flash we were able to create 3D characters running in a Flash environment. Because of the high demand for social engagement, each challenge had its unique URL to be shared amongst friends.

Success metrics

Over 400.000 installs. Increased customer retention for State Farm agents. Increased Facebook likes.

Quick Info

STATE FARM INSURANCES: PAPER FOOTBALL Studio Client Development Platforms

Sticky Game Agency State Farm Insurances 3 months iOS, Android, Web/FB

Unity Engine: a popular tool for developing and running 3D games on a pletora of different platforms like PC, Mac, iOS and Android.

Pacific Rim Jaeger Combat Simulator

WARNER BROS. PICTURES Take control of your Jaeger and end the Kaiju threat. Play with custom designed Jaegers in 3D and share posters with your friends.

Disney Epcot Resort Games

WALT DISNEY IMAGINEERING Sticky provided gamification consulting, game design direction and production for 5 attractions, including a world famous ride experience.

The Ultimate Endless Racing Experience HESS: HESS RACER The brief

Support and extend the 50 year Hess Truck tradition with an original game that increases sales of the toy and creates buzz for the retail brand. Expand upon Hess's social influence through likes, comments, Hess card trades and shares on Facebook. Give back to loyal Hess Truck fans and collectors of all ages.

The strategy

We decided to aim for high replay-ability by creating an arcade style racing game with simple and intuitive mechanics that are easy to learn but hard to master. Through social engineering we would encourage sharing with peer-to-peer challenges, card collecting and leader-boards.


Using the Unity engine* and in-house toolset we were able to deploy simultaneously to Facebook, Android and iOS. In order to guarantee great performance across multiple devices, we were able to serve different visual

experiences depending on the capabilities of the player's hardware which increased the overall reach without sacrificing the quality on the newest phones and tablets.

Success metrics

Hess's Facebook reach has seen steady growth through 1.2 million active mobile installs. Brand messages are amplified through the games active and passionate community.

This article is brought to you by Sticky Game Agency •

Quick Info HESS: HESS RACER Studio Sticky Game Agency Client HESS Development 3 months Platforms iOS, Android, Web/FB

Serious Games 2013-2014 • 21


Casefile #5: The Flying Game

Aviation Empire Royal Dutch Airlines KLM is reaching out to its passengers with a great strategy game for tablets. Why this game?

Almost a century after its founding, Royal Dutch Airlines KLM challenges players to follow in its footsteps. Players design their own airports and create a fleet of airplanes to cater for a network of international destinations. To personalize their fleet and to speed up progress players can do in app purchases, but these aren't necessary to play the game. Connecting the game to real live KLM activities is a unique opportunity for friends and families world wide to connect and to further merge the digital world with the real world.

The game was tested extensively by KLM's Facebook community plus a large group of beta testers which embraced the game fully. Continous engagement during the three week test helped finding bugs, optimizing game play and visuals.

What are the goals?

KLM is not only targeting their current customers and potential flyers, but also the large group of gamers that love strategy games.

How did the game come about?

In a co-creation session KLM, Monpellier Venture and Little Chicken, shaped the rough outline of the game concept . Three months later, the Aviation Empire concept was finalised. Little Chicken developed the complete game in-house.

Aviation Empire is a fully fledged 3D strategy game for iOS and Android. It is currently available for free. Studio Client Partners Development

Little Chicken Game Company Royal Dutch Airlines KLM Monpellier Venture 12 months

Aviation Empire offers a new platform to continuously engage with customers, potential flyers and gamers. Direct sales is not a first objective however KLM believes there’s a potential business case.

“Connecting the game to real live KLM activities is a unique opportunity”

Target Audience

Quick Info

How does the game work?

Aviation Empire is a 3D strategy game that let players experience the complextity of running an airline. It features almost 70 real world airports which can be upgraded and expanded with new buildings.

The gameworld is represented by a 3D globe that allows players quickly navigate. The game features a high level of detail, for example you can follow each flight from take off to landing. Zooming in on a gate to see an airplane dock, deciding to upgrade the airport and taking a 747 out for a spin is all in a moment’s work in Aviation Empire.

This article is brought to you by Little Chicken Game Company •

Serious Games 2013-2014 • 23

We know them all and bring together the best specialists to realise your goals. Be surprised what we can do for you and let us make a tailor made proposal in fields as: - effective learning & incompany training - health & lifestyle - attitude change & public awareness - marketing & loyalty Please drop a note at The Game Agent - Zwanenburgwal 236 - 1011 JH Amsterdam - The Netherlands


1 project, 7 games Casefile #6: The Visitor's Games

Seven games and interactive installations spice up the Visitor Center of energy company E.ON. What is this project?

E.ON wanted to spice things up at their visitor center at ‘de Maasvlakte’, a harbour and industrial area near the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The Game Agent took up the challenge of developing a wide range of games and interactive installations for visitors of all ages. Monique van Reijen, founder of The Game Agent, invited seven studios to participate in this special project. These are the studios that participated in this project: • Monobanda • Ellisinwonderland • Studio Parkers • Paladin • DPi • Linkeroever • Stetz

Target Audience

Visitors of the center are Business 2 Business & Business 2 Consumer and include men, women and students of all ages.

How did the games come about?

Creative directors of seven (game, app and other creative) studios teamed up and worked closely with the client to outline the playing field. During extensive brainstorm sessions the team developed several game concepts. They just let their imagination run wild and the interaction of the variety of different disciplines resulted in highly original and intelligent concepts. In total 25 concepts were developed.

The client then had the daunting task to select the best concepts for their visitor center. A three year plan was made and in the first year seven productions were implemented.

What are the goals?

With so many games, there are many different goals. Some are to inform the public, others are to entertain. Some games are made for knowledge transfer to pupils and students, other to create public awareness and support.

Examples of the different games

• Interactive floor projection illustrating co-siting. • Selection of educational games on the working of the power plant. • Audio/visual experience tunnel. • Hands on laboratory set up. • Virtual experience center.

What are the results?

Knowledge transfer about coal fuelled power generation and CO2 emission reduction. Image improvement for the energy supplier, E.ON. Political support for expanding E.ONs presence and activities.

Quick Info A grand total of seven games and interactive installations drastically enhance the visitor center of a large electricity company. Studio The Game Agent Client E.ON Partner studios Monobanda Paladin Ellisinwonderland DPi Studio Parkers Linkeroever Stetz Development 3 years

Example: Educational mini games A team of three studios was responsible for a selection of educational mini games on the working of the power plant. The games can be played individually or as a competitive match. All three games provide insight in different parts of the process of generating electricity.

“The client had the daunting task to select the best concepts”

This article is brought to you by The Game Agent •

Serious Games '13 • 25


Animal Mayhem Playful experience in the Cabinet of Curiosities How a game turned a Cabinet of Curiosities into an interactive experience. >> 26 • Serious Games 2013-2014

But first of all: how do we convert a domain objective in a game using state-of-the-art technology?


pplied games are becoming increasingly popular. At the same time, it is still an emerging field. Although more and more contexts become aware of its potential to achieve organisational goals, there is much to be learned and to be explored. There is a growing demand for validation results, for example, does the game perform as expected? Does it have a markable impact on its target audience? How can we measure that impact properly? At the same time, there are many issues to be resolved from a design perspective. How do we effectively connect domain experts and game designers? How do we organise collaboration and co-creation in the design process? How do costs and benefits balance out? But first of all: how do we convert a domain objective in a game using state-of-the-art technology?

SEA Project

In the SEA project, knowledge institutions, domain experts and small creative enterprises are brought together to gain insights in these questions by working on innovative pilots. The project entails three application domains: retail, cultural heritage and tourism. We asked domain representatives for their demand. Based on this information, we invested considerable effort in methodologies to articulate demand to prepare for applied game solutions. As a consortium we then intermediated between clients and small creative game studios to find the best match in each domain. Using all available knowledge and expertise from the participating institutions we support the co-creation process in ten innovative pilots. Although the project is still in full swing, we like to share a number of lessons learned in the project so far.

The Mayhem

One of the concepts in the SEA-project is created in collaboration with the University Museum Utrecht. The concept is called ‘Beestenbende', or 'Animal Mayhem' and is created by Hubbub, a small Utrecht based game studio. The University Museum aims to bring the fas-

cination for science to a broader audience. The museum asked to redesign the experience of a room containing an excellent Cabinet of Curiosities. The Cabinet exists of wonderful species of exotic animals. The museum intended to increase the time spent by visitors in the Cabinet by trying to make them view the collection from a ‘scientific’ perspective. Various companies were asked to pitch on this assignment. The company Hubbub was the winner of this contest and proposed the 'Animal Mayhem' concept. Using one iPhone as a family device, visitors are challenged by an app to help the animals shown on the display. The animals are confused; they believe they belong to a certain animal class, however, they are wrong. A flying squirrel thinks for example that it is a bird and an eel thinks it is a snake. Visitors are challenged to battle in two teams and help the ‘poor animals’ to regain their true identity by taking pictures of zoological evidence and characteristics of the true animal class. These pictures, taken under time pressure, are tagged in the app and sent to the animals. The team with the best and most convincing evidence wins. The assignment to take pictures is introduced just to make the visitor focus on the collection. The app does not 'process' the picture in terms of pattern recognition. Nevertheless, visitors are unaware of this 'phoney' use of technology, but watching the collection via the phone provides for an unprecedented level of focus. Playing ‘Animal Mayhem’ results in great interaction between (grand)parents and children, a substantial extension of time spent in the Cabinet (up to 30 minutes, this means six times the original average time), and visitors value the playful and meaningful way in which the game and collection are intrinsically connected.

Lessons Learned

This is just one example of the kind of pilots developed within the SEA project. We like to end with some of the lessons learned in the project so far. "It’s not a problem, it is a requirement." Clients often have lots of concerns regarding applied games. Many of their concerns can be turned into design criteria. A

This article is brought to you by Taskforce Innovation Utrecht Region •

clear articulation of demand is imperative for successful applied game design. "Think in verbs. Actions are the bread and butter of game design." In applied game design, many clients represent an extensive knowledge base. Codified knowledge and games do not relate easily. Start the conversation on desired actions and behaviour of users. Games are about actions, not about words. "Will they change their behaviour?" A major aspect of applied game design is discussing transfer. What will be the real-life impact of the game experience? Pervasive designs and mixing the real and the virtual world close this gap. "We have to use this new technology. Why? Because it is so cool.” Do not start from technology. Technology is here to serve us and follows purpose and function. Pick the necessary technology based on the aims, objectives and desired behaviours of users. Not the other way around.

More Information The SEA project (Smart Experience Actuator) is a collaboration between Task Force Innovation Utrecht region (TFI), Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU), Utrecht University, University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, Reinwardt Academy and Twente University. The project is funded through the Pieken in de Deltaprogram by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the city of Utrecht and the province of Utrecht. HKU/G&I: TFI: Hubbub: University museum: More lessons learned:

Serious Games 2013-2014 • 27


WeirdBeard WeirdBeard develops serious games and game management dashboards WeirdBeard enables desired behavioral changes in players by creating fun and engaging games. Through rewarding this behavior as core game mechanics, the player will be intrinsically motivated

to improve. We also provide dashboard systems to tweak the experience of the game and the learning goals on an individual level, view the players progress and manage users and content.

Cases/clients: AMC LapChol Concept, development and design of a game to train the situational awareness and problem solving skills of surgeons. (Partners: AMC, TNO, TFI, DGG) Monster Valley Dashboard, manage the users, watch their progress and create new game settings for each player of Monster Valley (Monster Valley: Little Chicken, Client: MyCognition). Typeworld Development of the game and CMS of this fun typing course for kids. (Concept & Content: Bespeak, Design: Flow, Client: Instruct)

Company Adress WeirdBeard Rijnstraat 154-III 1079 HR Amsterdam (NL) Contact Details Niels Monshouwer CEO +31 (0) 20 3377834

African Highland Farmer Development of a game to make policy makers aware of the problems of smallholder farmers in Africa. (Wageningen University)


Little Chicken Game Company Specialist in the development of applied games We believe that creating a succesful applied game requires close co-creation between delopment teams and content specialists. This results in a perfect balance between involving gameplay and optimal knowledge transfer. Our ambition is to apply our unique development process to business, educational, and health markets, and to take applied gaming to the next level. Cases/clients: KLM - Aviation Empire. Loyalty based strategy game. Kenteq - CRAFT. Educational, simulation driven game experience. MyCognition Monster Valley.

Cognition-enhancing strategy/action game. Visio - The Explorer. Nintendo Wii balance board game for the blind and visually impaired. Radboud - Geriatrix. Decision mak ing training game for medical students.

28 • Serious Games 2013-2014

Games for change in care, learning and business Company Adress Little Chicken Game Company Weteringschans 86 1017 XS Amsterdam (NL) Contact Details Michiel Sala • CEO and co-founder +31 (0) 20 6202970

We design games that support change. Our games are casual to play but serious in topic and impact. Our solutions work on mobile, tablet and PC. We work for care and education and also for sectors like corporate business and media. Cases/clients: Dropstuff Social media awareness game for teenagers. WestOost Inc. Making environments safer for elderly. Remptation Apps for dementia. Autitouch Apps for autism.

RumdeeDum Edutainment Apps for children.

Company Adress ImproVive Kleine Koppel 60 3812 PH Amersfoort (NL) Contact Details Roger ter Heide • CEO +31 (0) 6 41575706

The Game Agent



We bring together the best Serious Game specialists to realize your goals

Multiplatform game developer experienced in mobile games

Each serious game developer is unique. We know them all. And we bring together the best specialists to reach your goals. Be surprised what we can do or you and let us make a tailor made proposal in fields as

As an established game company, we develop mainly in Unity3D. This gives us the ability to deploy across multiple platforms, such as iOS, Android, OSX, Windows and Web and allowing us to communicate your message across all mainstream platforms.

• • • • • •

effective knowledge transfer incompany training health & lifestyle attitude change public awareness marketing & brand engagement

Company Adress The Game Agent Zwanenburgwal 236 1011 JH Amsterdam (NL) Contact Details Monique van Reijen Director

+31 (0) 6 46097458

Cases/clients: E.ON (energy), ROC (vocational education), Ixly (assessment, training, coaching), RTL & SBS 6 (broadcasters), Nederlandsch Octrooi Bureau (Patent Attorneys), Hydrospex (hydrolic heavy lifting systems), Media College Amsterdam - students game development studio, Braingymmer - braintraining games, Dyzle (RFID cold-chain products)

Cases/clients: Munch Time: A successful mobile platform game taking the title “Game of the Week” in 78 countries over the world on the iOS market.

Contact Details Alex Kentie Co-Founder +31 (0) 20 123 45

Geen Haast Geen Zorgen: A browser game for Veolia, playable on iOS and Android devices simply by scanning a QRcode.

Ranj Serious Games

Spil Games

Developer of serious games for health care, education and training

A global leader in online gaming

Ranj wants to help people and organizations develop in an efficient and enjoyable manner with serious games. We create user experiences in which players are challenged to solve problems. During the game users can experiment, thereby gaining the knowledge and skills to help them confront challenges in real life.

At its core, Spil Games is a games publisher, scouting the best content from the world of online game developers to entertain the 180 million visitors to its platforms each month.

Cases/clients: Games for Health, Educational Games, Training Games (for large corporations)

Company Adress Gamistry Zekeringstraat 17 1014 BM Amsterdam (NL)

Company Adress Ranj Serious Games Lloydstraat 21m 3024 EA Rotterdam (NL) Contact Details Albert-Jan Pomper, COO +31 (0) 10 2123101

Cases/clients: 180 million monthly active users play games on Spil Games' online gaming platforms.

Company Adress Spil Games Arendstraat 23 1223 RE Hilversum (NL) Contact Details Scott Johnston Head of Global PR

+31 (0) 35 6466300

Serious Games 2013-2014 • 29


TNO In Utrecht we see gaming as a key sector of our knowledge based economy and we actively support the industry. Together with regional partners like Utrecht University, the Utrecht School of Applied Science, the HKU and the Dutch Game Garden we have a built a strong cluster where both national and international gaming companies can thrive. We work on strengthening the cluster all the time by closely cooperating, in The Netherlands and abroad.

Contact Details Liza Groeneveld +31 (30) 258 2502

Invest Utrecht can assist you in every way when initiating or expanding your international business in Europe. We help you select the best real estate from our top business facilities, we introduce you to potential partners & networks and we offer advice on incentives, permits, tax & legal matters. We offer on-going support to help foreign-owned enterprises thrive. The best part: all our services are free of charge, confidential and tailor-made to your needs.

TNO is an independent research organisation whose expertise and research make an important contribution to the competitiveness of companies and organisations, to the economy and to the quality of society as a whole. TNO is already for many years active in the research and development on Applied Games with applications in Societal Domains as Defence, Safety, Care and Business and Employment. TNO believes that cooperation and knowledge sharing is the key to development of successful games. TNO has recently started an Applied Gaming Programme to boost the impact of applied games research through open innovation and cooperation with the Creative Industry. Together with other parties, TNO wants to contribute with new design principles, eveidence based models and validation for applied games.



Applied games and apps for Health and Learning

Expert in user experience solutions

The success of an applied game is determined by how well the game fits into your existing practices. QLVR creates games that motivate patients and students alike. Blends of social media, games and mobile technology. Integrated in your workflow. Playful and effective. Cases/clients: HeartVille • Social Health Game Helps patients change their lifestyle. Winner of the Future of Health Award Malmberg: Spelling App van Gerrit Language game for primary education. Naturalis Museum Game 'Cold Case' Mobile detective game for kids and parents.

30 • Serious Games 2013-2014

Company Adress QLVR Neude 5 3512 AD Utrecht (NL) Contact Details Jaap Gerretsen Director +31 (0) 30 204 02

Headcandy develops next-gen user experience solutions using innovative interactive media and natural user interfaces. As a promising startup with a track record of well-known retailers, sports brands, banks and even a space agency, we deliver tomorrow today. Cases/clients: NASA Starting as a research project for Microsoft to get the most out of using 3D in the Windows 8 RT frontend, Headcandy developed this app in close collaboration with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratories and Microsoft. Ahold Age Suite With Intel & Ahold, we developed a facial recognition proof of concept for future, in-store use. Aegon Pension App This application, currently available in the Windows 8 store, shows the clients of Aegon if they are facing a pension shortfall as soon as they turn 65.

Company Adress Headcandy Neude 5 3512 AD Utrecht (NL) Contact Details Jasper Vis Managing Partner +31 (0) 65 0551161

These pages are brought to you by Invest Utrecht •

Bright Alley


Specialist in e-learning and educational games

Designers of innovative applied games which connect and inspire

We devise and develop creative and effective customer-specific gaming ideas. Bright Alley is a full service end-to-end supplier: we have all the required disciplines in-house to create and realise gaming projects rapidly and cost effectively. Cases/clients: Heineken Brand Marketing High end iPad solution using augmented reality for global marketeers to better understand their target audience. C1000 3D game Introduction Game for distribution center employees to create awareness of behaviour and procedures.

Company Adress Bright Alley Herculesplein 80 3585 AA Utrecht (NL)

We love to make games that make people curious and inspire them to explore and learn. By using a mixed media approach we surprise and immerse our players.

Company Adress FourceLabs Neude 5 3512 AD Utrecht (NL)

Contact Details Erik de Jong Senior consultant +31 (0) 30 2123200


Contact Details Karel Millenaar Chief Game & Play +31 (0) 64 2633703

Vredepoort A boardgame with a digital environment for schools. It teaches kids from 10-14 the principles of conflict mediation. Chick'N'Run A wild event game where players from the age 5-75 race with spring riders.



Monkeybizniz develops tailor made games for web, iOS and Android

Independent developer of high quality online 3d games

Engaging and entertaining serious games that deliver information, knowledge or insights in a playful and fun manner. Monkeybizniz Games are based on research, solid game design, appealing visuals, clear communication with the target audience and a healthy dose of humor. Cases/clients: • Utrecht University • Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital • Medical Coordination Centre Flevoland • Expertisecentre for Youth, Society and Upbringing (JSO) • Het Utrechts Archief • ProRail • Royal DSM

Company Adress Monkeybizniz Neude 5 3512 AD Utrecht (NL) Contact Details Dimme v/d Hout CEO +31 (0) 30214 5225

a number of these companies are located in the Dutch Game Garden

Xform is an independent developer of high quality online 3d games. We create games for publishers, advertising agencies and game portals. We work with four major 3d engines and can deliver to Web, PC & Mac. Cases/clients: The Adidas Neighborhood Welcome to the first online experience physically brought to life by the design of a set of sneakers! Red Bull Formula Face Get your game face on for this fun augmented reality kart racing game we did for Red Bull! Start your faces!

Company Adress Xform Drieharingstraat 6 - 8 3511 BJ Utrecht (NL) Contact Details Diederik Groesbeek CEO +31 (0) 30 2313720

Serious Games 2013-2014 • 31


Flow Studios


Developing and releasing highend 3D games and apps

We are an idea factory, we reach your audience with unexpected concepts

Developing high-end apps and games in 3D gives the user a new,diverse and immersive experience. All apps are accustomed to the clients wishes and are developed especially for the user experience. Cases/clients: The Fairytales Box • High-End 3D app for children to listen and watch beautiful fairytales and gives the parents the opportunity to record their voice so the children can listen to it whilst them not being at home. Furukawa Rock Drill • Interactive Simulation in a rich 3D environment giving the user the experience of a massive machine.

Company Adress Flow Studios Neude 5 3512 AD Utrecht (NL) Contact Details Kevin Matthew de Ligt Founder +31 (0) 6 39301176

Monobanda designs interactive experiences for surprising locations. To us play means accessibility, creativity and fun. Our projects are known for their accessibility. We make sure a complex message will be brought to your audience in a light-hearted way. Cases/clients: U-Spy • A real-life urban game, where players become spies and explore the city. Aimed for tourists. E.ON energy games The visitors’ centre of energy company E.ON got a playful update. Fun mini games that explained the process of energy making.

Company Adress Monobanda Neude 5 3512 AD Utrecht (NL) Contact Details Sjoerd Wennekes CEO +31 (0) 6 43833084

ISOTX Applied Games


Award winning game developer with more than eight years experience

International design studio specialized in new games for social change

ISOTX, one of The Netherlands leading game companies, has founded ISOTX Applied Games. Leveraging 8 years of award winning strategy game production experience, we offer applied game development services to business, government and consumer markets Cases/clients: * Applied games * Stereoscopic 3D projects * Augmented reality

Company Adress ISOTX Applied Games Neude 5, 5th floor 3512 AD Utrecht (NL) Contact Details Bram van Lith Managing Director Applied Games +31 (0) 30 2040226

A P P L I E D - G A M E S

10 • Serious Games 2013-2014

Cases/clients: Pig Chase A game for pigs and humans, explor­ing the com­plex rela­tion­ship between two species and how this might be affected by play. Code 4 A large scale game for orga­ni­za­ tional change com­mis­sioned by the Dutch Tax Administration. Animal Mayhem A game for fam­i­lies vis­it­ing the cab­i­net of curiosi­ties at Uni­ver­sity Museum Utrecht, about look­ing at things through the eyes of scientists.

Company Adress Hubbub Neude 5 3512 AD Utrecht (NL) Contact Details Kars Alfrink Founding partner and principal designer +31 (0) 651435484

These pages are brought to you by Invest Utrecht •

Bureau BlauwGeel


Agency for innovative digital communication

Specialist in applied games; focus on education & change management

We help you to increase customer satisfaction and turnover by creating an effective digital strategy, creative concepts and developing solid sites, apps and games

Company Adress Bureau BlauwGeel Neude 5 3512 AD Utrecht (NL)

Cases/clients: Bløf enriched biography • With the Bløf app readers can scan pictures in the book to view videos and listen to audiofragments. A rich experience. Stimulansz WMO app • Consultants save 1 to 2 hours per case by using this tablet app during intakes with clients Royal House website • The Royal House communicates easier and faster with this modern yet majestic online platform

Contact Details Bas Koopman Concept & Strategy +31 (0) 6 81 18 03

Brightling was formed by the ambition to bring about improved wellbeing: a better world, in better balance. We believe that the expression ‘wealth’ doesn’t quite cover it. That’s why we’ve added the term wellbeing. This covers the cargo much better. Cases/clients: Currently we are developing a dyslexia game.

Visitor Adress Brightling Neude 5 3512 AD Utrecht (NL) Company Adress Nieuwe Prinsenkade 64 4811VC Breda (NL) Contact Details Sicco Maathuis Founder +31 (0) 65 1178441

Haute Technique

Sticky Game Agency

Interactive experiences

Experts who put a game strategy at the heart of your brand

Haute Technique creates experiences with the use of new media. Games, interactive installations, prototypes, websites and mobile apps are some of the products we create. Our products are like custom tailored new media: innovative and unique. Cases/clients: Fortress Island Pampus 7 games that involve visitors into how life was on the fortress a century ago. The games consist of touch screens, glass projections, and physical interaction, like filling canon shells with gunpowder, or using an authentic morse key.

Company Adress Haute Technique Neude 5 3512 AD Utrecht (NL) Contact Details Sander ter Braak CEO +31 (0) 647 933898

a number of these companies are located in the Dutch Game Garden

We are a game agency focused on establishing strong consumer relationships through the power of play. We concept, develop and deploy game experiences for web, mobile, console and physical spaces. Clients include film & media production companies, governments and brands. Cases/clients: Top Driver A 3D traffic simulator teaching young drivers the consequences of both safe and careless driving. State Farm insurances Paper Football Design your own paper football figure, upload your face and challenge friends on mobile & web. Man Of Steel - Hero's Flight Take control of Superman and fly as fast as possible through 3 vast environments against friends.

Company Adress Sticky Game Agency Kanaalweg 14J 3526 KLUtrecht (NL) Contact Details Jeroen de Cloe CEO/Founder +31 (0) 30 2717548

Serious Games 2013-2014 • 33

Real Virtuality The future of serious games


lthough people wait there every day, buses never stop at the stop 'Benrath Senior Centre' in Düsseldorf (Germany). The fake bus stop, an exact replica of a real German bus stop, was installed by the staff of the home for the elderly. The idea emerged when the police kept bringing back patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, after they took buses to return to their homes or families that no longer existed. This fake bus stop example illustrates to me a significant paradigm shift in thinking regarding the application of game technology to improve the way we communicate, teach, train, care or work. The old paradigm is best described as the 'Star Trek Holodeck' paradigm: players enter a 'virtual reality' in which they can experiment with (for example) floods, riots, dying patients or the operation of complex machines. Through experimentation in this virtual world, players develop skills and competencies that are useful in their job or life. The new paradigm is profoundly different and can be described as the 'gamification of reality'. Through the introduction of game design elements such as rules or currencies, in the real world, reality itself is transformed and people start to behave differently. This new paradigm is fueled by the proliferation of smart devices, enchanted objects and the rise of the 'Internet of

34 • Serious Games 2013-2014

things' through which we connect the real world of atoms to a virtual world of symbols -- I call this the emergence of 'real virtuality'. The recent introduction of Google Glass symbolizes this development, that will change the way people experience physical locations, such as offices, shops, museums, schools, hospitals, transport and cities. Increasingly, people will interact

“Through the introduction of game design elements in the real world, reality itself is transformed” with these physical locations, and the processes that take place within them, while being supported by their smart devices (smartphones, smartglasses, smartcontactlensens and personal satellite drones). The smart cities, smart organizations and smart buildings of the near future will cater for these interactions by embedding technology in their physical environment and developing services that enable people to meaningfully enhance their experience of the real.

At the moment the Real Virtuality paradigm is already being adopted, often from the perspective of safety, logistics, efficiency and persuasion. In the past years, the concept of 'Gamification' for instance, has gained a lot of attention, mainly as a project that connects game design elements such as points, leaderboards and badges to real services, in order to persuade or nudge people to start, stop, quit, change, move, save or spend. Too often, in my opinion, this kind of 'Gamification' is started from the perspective of the goals of organization instead of from the perspective of the creation of meaningful experiences for people that interact with these organizations. This brings me back to the bus stop of Benrath Senior Centre in Dusseldorf. Central in this concept is the reduction of stress and pain. Not by creating fences, but by evoking a memory, providing a place to communicate and to interact. By designing a meaningful experience. In the future, game designers will help to design social innovation, not only by designing objects such as games, but mainly by creating meaningful processes and experiences through applying game design principles and game design thinking in reality. Jeroen van Mastrigt-Ide (@jrnvm) is partner at game design consultancy 'WeLoveYourWork' and chairman of the Dutch Game Garden.


Last year's edition of this magazine* still features a lot of relevant information and cases. CRAFT Mechatronica, for example, a clever educational game. Here's an excerpt. Students design their own roller coaster. Then build it using realistic equipment. The best part: they get to ride it.

How does the game work?

CRAFT Mechatronica (or CRAFT as players call it) is set in a theme park workshop, where students get familiar with all the necessary construction tools. They are taught how to use the machines to build parts for their own roller coaster. Players are rewarded with virtual credits for participating in the simulation and actively using all of the equipment. Credits can be spent on new materials to create more elaborate tracks for their own roller coaster. After building a track, the player gets to take the roller coaster for a spin! A very effective and fun

way to get players involved in the game. In order to assess the transfer of information, students are examined on a regular basis. The combination of simulation, gaming and on the job training proves to be a potent mix.

Why this game?

Kenteq is the Centre of Expertise for Technical Skills. It provides services and products for employers and employees in metal, electrical and mechanical technology, and focuses on the development of technical craftmanship. For Kenteq, CRAFT Mechatronica is a vehicle to research the application of serious gaming to vocational education. The game is based on a unique combination of simulation, gaming and on the job training.

*Last year's edition is available at:

we take serious games to another level

Serious Games 2013-2014 • 35 not so serious games & playful apps

Contents The Dutch gamesindustry: a quick look............................p.2


Why Serious Games?....................................................................p.3


The confessions of a game designer The Curse of the Angry Bird......................................................p.4


The Rise of the Gaming Government...................................p.6


Games for Health: A game a day, does it keep the doctor away?...............p.8


Real world training in a virtal world: CSI in the polder............................................................................p.13


Games and advertising Look who’s gaming!...................................................................p.18


Playful experience in the Cabinet of Curiosities Animal Mayhem...........................................................................p.26


Real Virtuality The future of serious games.................................................p.34


Directory of relevant companies.........................................p.30


Real world cases: Casefile #1: The Medicinal Game........................................p.11


Casefile #2: The Employee's Game.....................................p.18


Casefile #3: The Educational Games.................................p.17


Casefile #4: The Brand Strategy Games..........................p.20


Casefile #5: The Flying Game.................................................p.23


Casefile #6: The Visitor's Games..........................................p.24